Avast me hearties! Sapphic pirate romance spotted off the port bow, and if you are into swashbuckling action, vengeance, and second chances, The Raven and the Banshee by Carolyn Elizabeth is not to be missed. Awash with high seas adventure and strong women, it further proves Wesley’s bold proclamation to Buttercup to be true; not even death can stop true love.
Julia Farrow is the feisty, unconventional daughter of a wealthy and influential trader. Branna Kelly is the daughter of a highly respected ship’s captain. Inseparable friends throughout their childhood, their relationship grows deeper as they grow older. That is until Julia’s father intervenes threatening to use his influence to financially ruin Branna’s family if she doesn’t put an end to their relationship. Julia’s only recourse is to push Branna away even though it crushes them both completely.
Heart broken, Branna sets sail with her family to map out a trade route in the Caribbean. Alas, they never reach their destination as their ship is attacked by vicious pirates. All aboard are slaughtered, save the young Branna. Rescued by a kindly fisherman, she swears vengeance on the murderous pirates and trains tirelessly until she becomes the infamous Raven, Captain of the Banshee.
Believing Branna to have perished in the pirate attack, Julia mourns the loss of her true love and agonizes over the way they parted. After her parents pass away, Julia steps in to run Farrow Company and eventually joins the crew of her company’s newest ship. As fate would have they are also set upon by pirates. The crew are mercilessly killed but she is left behind, a lone survivor and a taunting reminder for Raven.
Their reunion is bittersweet as they navigate the turbid waters of the Caribbean and of their hearts seeking to discover if a heart consumed by vengeance can find forgiveness and embrace love.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I’m fairly certain I have mentioned before that I love a good pirate tale and let me tell you folks, this book is a treasure! It is fast paced with the perfect blend of action, angst and romance. The settings are vibrant and transportive whether asea or ashore, and the characters are well rounded with plenty of depth. Both Julia and Branna are strong women and Elizabeth excels at creating the perfect balance of tension and harmony between them.
Cons And Heads Up
I will start with a content warning. This is a pirate tale so be forewarned, there are some bloody battles and gory scenes. There is also mention of rape (it doesn’t happen on page) and an attempted sexual assault.
Apart from the lack of a kraken, the only con I really have is that it is a little formulaic. However, the characters are so engaging, the scenery is so descriptive, and the expected tropes are so perfectly realized, that you can’t help but be pulled in.
This book has everything a pirate-loving heart could desire; great banter, heat, vengeance, angst, romance, and boatloads of adventure. Don’t let this ship sail! Hop aboard, chart a course to your favourite reading nook and sink into its pages. You won’t be disappointed.
Excerpt from The Raven and the Banshee by Carolyn Elizabeth
They walked the stone path lined with oaks and dogwoods to the Farrows’ grand, three-story, brick double house. Branna, not knowing when she would lay eyes on it again, marveled at the sight of the columns across the piazza that overlooked the lush and impeccably manicured grounds and private gardens. She called to mind the many times throughout her young life she and Julia Farrow had run hand in hand and barefoot through the cool grass and lay together beneath the shade of the dogwoods in the muggy heat of the summer.
It was beneath one of those trees in the cooling air and dimming light that she experienced her first kiss—and the many that came after. The memory was so vivid she could feel the softness of Julia’s lips against hers, the sweetness of her breath against her cheek, and the press of their still developing bodies against each other.
Branna had never experienced anything so terrifying and tantalizing as that kiss and wanted nothing more than to feel that way forever. Now she had to say goodby, for how long she didn’t know…
She recognized many of the faces, but since she had no social standing, she drew no attention, save for a smattering of derisive looks. She made one cursory glance across the crowd before her eyes settled on Julia Farrow and her heart jumped in her chest as it always did when their eyes locked. Julia, always insisting she believed they could sense each other even at a distance, was already staring at her with her trademark half-smile and sparkling eyes. Branna stilled, soaking in the sight of her—light blond hair piled up atop her head, gray eyes and porcelain complexion. Though they were the same age, Branna thought she looked impossibly young with the splash of freckles across her nose from too many long days adventuring in the sun together.
Branna was reminded there was nothing childlike about Julia Farrow. Her gaze rested at Julia’s full lips and strong chin with a hint of a cleft before continuing down her graceful neck and her shapely figure—full breasts and hips filling out her new dress, testing the seamstress’s work. Branna’s returned smile crept across her face then fell into a scowl when she was jostled hard from behind.
“Servants’ entrance is by the kitchen,” sneered Cecilia Ainsworth as she walked by with her nose in the air.
She led the band of “snotty daughters,” as Branna liked to call them, toward the dance floor—They were the young women of the wealthiest plantations, politicians, financiers, and merchants who judged and ridiculed anyone they deemed beneath them without restraint or censure.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781642472400
Publisher: Bella Books
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